Look at Oz: 54th annual Student Art Exhibition

Oswego State’s art department is starting the new semester off big with the 54th Annual Juried Student Exhibition hosted in the Tyler Hall Art Gallery. The event will take place Feb. 3 to 19, with a reception and judging taking place Feb. 10 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Suzanne Beason, the president of the Student Art Exhibition Committee (SAEC), the group responsible for various aspects of the event, discussed the groups role and goals.

“The Student Art Exhibition Committee hosts the Juried Student show annually,” Beason said. “The club sponsors this democratic competition open to all Oswego [State] students, not just art students, publicizes it to pull in entries, hires jurors, and hangs the exhibit. The SAEC also has the privilege of purchasing a few pieces of student work for the college’s collection.”

With a new year and a newly renovated venue, changes have been brought to this program at various levels.

“This is the first year we tried something different,” said Michael Flanagan, the director of the Tyler Art Gallery. “We used an online application for the exhibition. Students learned about the event in the fall, we spread posters around campus, professors encouraged students to apply, we rely on them a lot. Students no longer need to bring in their work to be evaluated and it was the first time we have had both jurors come to campus at the same time to go over the work.”

Beason also said the new online application process has benefited the student body.

“We are getting great feedback from the students on how much easier it was for them to apply online,” Beason said. “We had approximately three times the number of entries this year compared to last year.”

Although Beason believes it is the ease of the online application that changed the number of participants, others have their own opinions.

“I believe it helps some who are more hesitant, too afraid to submit in person,” senior Alyssa Barrett said.

Although it does help some student overcome their fears, Flanagan said it is important for students to overcome their fears and work on applying to have their works put in galleries.

“Part of being a professional is learning how to exhibit your work and learning the application process,” Flanagan said. “All artistic people want to show their work. They all want to be seen I would say.”

The reinvigoration of the process has been a welcomed changed to both faculty and students. Another welcomed changed is the resumption of Tyler Hall as host of the event.

While the hall was being renovated the past few years, many events for the art department were hosted within Penfield Library, which prevents students in the creative fields from melding and interacting with one another as much as they are able to now according to some.

“It’s great to be back in Tyler Hall because of the increased interaction with music and theater students,” Beason said. “Art builds community and isn’t that the purpose of college? I am pleased to see more students participating in the club’s events and in the Juried show. I am also excited to see more non-art majors attending our events, like the Celebrate Sculpture event that the SAEC hosted last semester where over 200 students stopped by to talk to the sculptors and appreciate the new art on campus.”

Another change seen by some is the natural progression students’ work takes over the years. No two students to create the same piece and the exhibition does all that it can to prevent students from feeling as if their work would not be a good fit for the gallery.

“It is really what they feel is their strongest artwork,” Flanagan said. “Having a theme or anything like that prevents creativity and keeps some people from applying at all because they do not have something that they feel fits them.”

According to Barrett, the event has been beneficial for Oswego State students over the years.

“I do not see too many specific changes to the event, but I see a lot of changes to the work,” Barrett said. “They are selective to a certain extent, but it is such a great opportunity. It gives them an opportunity to showcase their work, as many of them have not had this opportunity before. It also gets the students to talk about their work, mingle with others and event network to an extent.”

Be sure to visit the gallery in Tyler Hall and see the work. While it may have been easier to apply, with the number of applicants there is no doubt that they students featured have earned their spots.

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